The Wider World

Omicron: fast but dangerous?

OMICRON is shown to be fast-moving, but it’s still uncertain how dangerous is (Shutterstock).

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus appears to spread quickly, but it’s still unclear how severe any infections will be.

According to The New York Times, the Delta variant is still responsible for the recent surge – an increase of 40 percent in the last two weeks – but in other nations, Omicron has proved to be fast moving.

Reports from South Africa, Great Britain and Denmark show rapid increases, in some case doubling every two days.

Estimates of the new variant’s “share” of new cases are around 3 percent, but that’s expected to rise. So far, vaccines are believed to be effective in keeping infections from leading to severe disease or death.

Abortion pills will be available by mail

Women seeking to terminate pregnancies will be able to obtain abortion pills by mail, the Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday.

Up to this point, access to the drug – mifepristone – has been only in person. Taken with the hormone blocker misoprostol, it’s the abortion pill and is approved to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks. According to the Associated Press, about 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S. are done through medication.

Also in the news …

  • Military service members who refuse a Department of Defense order to become vaccinated against the coronavirus will be dismissed. So far, about 98 percent of those in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Space Force have received at least one dose. Percentages are lower among members of the National Guard.

Sports: Chiefs beat Chargers

In a showdown for the lead in the AFC West Division, the Los Angeles Chargers lost 34-28 to overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night in a battle for first in the AFC West. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for the winning score. KC is now 10-4 and the Chargers 9-5.

Weather: Sunny days are here again

The forecast for the West Orange County area for the weekend is a (brief) return to sunny days. Friday will have a daytime high of 68 (overnight low of43), similar to Saturday (68/42). Sunday will be a bit cooler at 63 (44). Cloudy weather will return on Monday.

Finance: Stocks on the rise again

Modest gains were recorded at the closing bell on Thursday in major stock indexes. The S&P 500 was up nine points to close at 4,677.75 and the Dow climbed 53 points to 35,955. Nasdaq showed an increase of 26.75 points to 15,897.25.

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